Over 3% of the US electricity supply comes from solar power. Yet that number could be so much higher if more people installed solar panels.
True, there are lots of things to consider with solar panels. How many should you have? Will they work with your roof? What size is best? What’s the best solar panel position?
The direction they face affects the amount of energy the system can produce. So it’s important to get the positioning right.
Read on to learn more about different ways to position your solar panels.
The Basic Solar Panel Position
If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s best to have your solar panels facing south. That’s because the sun runs along the southern sky.
The panels should also be tilted to the right angle so the sunlight hits the panel in the best way. If you use an angle of between 30-45°, this has two benefits.
First, snow will slide off easier during the winter. Second, the sunlight hits at the angle that gathers the most solar power. The final angle is dependent on your latitude.
Steeper angles are better in the winter when the sun is lower, and the reverse is true in the summer. 45° is a good compromise.
The angle of your roof might dictate the best angle for your panels. Make sure you don’t have any trees casting shade across the roof where the panels will go.
Companies like Blue Raven Solar will do a site visit to make sure you get the best position possible for your panels.
The Energy-Efficient Angle
Surprisingly, the rate system used by your utility company can also affect the best solar system position.
If your company charges based on the average amount of energy you use, then south-facing panels are a good idea. You’ll produce power throughout the day, matching your energy consumption.
Some companies charge by the time of use, not the usage volume. That means your electricity prices go up during peak times.
The peak time is often first thing in the morning or early evening. It’s the point when we’re using electric lights, cooking dinner, or watching TV.
If you’re on a time-of-use plan, then west-facing panels are a better idea. That’s because the sun sets in the west, so the sunlight hits the panels at the time you’re using the most power.
This means you’ll be using the power straight from the solar panels, not the grid. This lowers your utility bills.
What if you don’t have a suitable roof surface that faces south or west? Speak to your solar panel company about adding a solar battery to the solar panel installation.
That way, the battery stores the energy gathered during peak sunlight. You use the stored energy at peak times, rather than drawing from the grid.
Enjoy Solar Energy
Now you know the best way to choose the right solar panel position for your house. It depends on a combination of the way your utility company charges for power and the latitude of your house.
Your solar panel installation company will also bring its own expertise to bear. They’ll do a final design for you based on a range of factors to make sure you generate the most power possible.
Keen to understand more about sustainable living? Check out my eco-living articles for more tips!